Meet The Team:
Co-Founder and Co-Director
Andria Nacina Cole
Full name: Andria Nacina Cole
Refer to me like this: She/her/hers
Hometown: Buffalo, New York
I fell in love with Baltimore when: I heard the club music. It was August ‘95. I was driving down with my momma, cousin and best friend, headed to Morgan for the first time. I think the radio was turned to 92Q. I’m a dancer, so I was pumped. Like, Mommy can you turn that up?
Current + favorite life role/s: Writer, mother, sister, friend, restorative practices specialist
Role/s w/in ARS: Co-founder and Co-director
Years w/ ARS: 8…since our budget was $2,500!
Education: Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts, Morgan State University, Johns Hopkins University, Kim Cole’s + other Black women’s kitchens
Gifts/areas of wisdom + expertise: fiction, restorative practices
Why ARS snatched me up: I think my co-founder approached me with this idea for a summer reading and writing project because she knew I don’t play about Black children. Because she knew how passionate I am about providing inspiring, nurturing, engaging, challenging academic spaces and experiences for them. And because I am fierce and determined.
A personal achievement I’m especially proud of: My children trust me.
A professional one I be bragging about: I was crowned Baltimore’s Best Storyteller in 2017.
A big, scary goal I’m bigger and scarier than: Finishing my novel by the summer!
A quote that makes my soul crawl on out of its hiding place: “Conflict is the spirit of the relationship asking itself to deepen.” -Malidoma Some
The book that saved my life: I’ve never read a book that didn’t save my life. Carla DuPree taught me not to read anything I don’t love some 20 years ago. But bell hooks certainly wears the savior crown.
My favorite Black woman author/s of all time: Toni Morrison
The tenderest, most beautiful thing I ever witnessed or experienced at ARS: Hard to say. It’s so often tender and beautiful. I love when we work through our conflicts, though. I love us practicing the difficult parts of love.
Why I am a part of the ARS journey: I want to live in a world where Black women and girls are respected, happy, and safe. ARS is proof I’m serious.
Full name: Jamesha (Juh-Me-Sh-A)
Refer to me like this: She/Her, Jam-Jam, Jay, (the Don Diva)
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
I fell in love with Baltimore when: I realized there's no place on EARTH like it.
Current + favorite life role/s: I’m my mother's daughter. We couldn’t be closer!
Role/s w/in ARS: Co-Coordinator! (Purr!)
Years w/ ARS: 6 years!
Education: From Afya Public Charter School to THEE Baltimore City College High School to Notre Dame of Maryland University…and now Law School (pending decision!).
Gifts/areas of wisdom + expertise: I am a beacon of knowledge! And if I don’t know, I’ll find a way to know.
Why ARS snatched me up: The opportunity to study Black women artists…all the time? Enough said!
A personal achievement I’m especially proud of: My relationships with my family and friends are standing the test of time.
A professional one I be bragging about: I’m a co-director at 22.
A big, scary goal I’m bigger and scarier than: Being the writer that I’ve always dreamed of.
A quote that makes my soul crawl on out of its hiding place: Every story I create, creates me. I write to create myself. - Octavia Butler.
The book that saved my life: Corregidora by Gayl Jones
My favorite Black woman author/s of all time: Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, Danielle Evans, and Nikki Carter.
The tenderest, most beautiful thing I ever witnessed or experienced at ARS: The look in a daughter’s eyes when they’ve encountered a text, an artist, or experience that may have changed their perspective on something.
Why I am a part of the ARS journey: ARS allows me the opportunity to create the world(s) I want to see. Be around the people that I love the most. And be the person I want to be.